Construction noise temporarily drives some birds from Cypress Wetlands

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMay 2, 2014 

An egret as seen at the Cypress Wetlands on Friday, April 25 in Port Royal.

DELAYNA EARLEY — Staff photo Buy Photo

Construction noise from two construction projects has driven some of the birds that usually nest in Port Royal's Cypress Wetlands to a pond in The Preserves apartment complex, town manager Van Willis said.

The Port Royal Police Department is undergoing an expansion and renovation beside the wetlands' Paris Avenue entrance. Directly across the road, Parker's is building a gas station and convenience store. The work involved demolishing a building.

Work on both of those jobs began in February, with the Parker's construction expected to wrap up toward the end of May and the police station by mid-summer.

Since the work is occurring during nesting season, a number of the birds, including snowy and great egrets, set up at the pond at the center of The Preserves apartment complex, on the other side of Ribaut Road.

Dozens were visible Friday nesting in the trees in the middle of the pond.

Some birds have remained in the Cypress Wetlands and can be seen in the middle of the bird sanctuary from the wooden walkway that connects dirt paths. Pete Richards of the Fripp Audubon Club said that's good because the second annual Baby Shower for the Birds at the wetlands is planned for May 17. Not only does he expect there to be "plenty of birds for everyone," but he said it appears eggs will be hatching right on time for the event.

The event -- with slogan "These chicks know how to party!" -- will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include a birthday cake, guest speaker, tours, live music and games for kids.

"The essential thing is to bring attention to the importance of the wetlands, to Port Royal and to the region," he said. "There's nothing quite like it."

As for the birds that migrated to The Preserves, Richards believes most will be back to the wetlands next year when construction is over. The wetlands are an ideal site for birds and well-protected from dangers.

"The need for the nesting site is very strong there, and these are protected sites," he said.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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